Fast Company

Apple Takes Flight

In its most recent move to saturate the music market, Apple has partnered with seven of the major world airlines to make iPods an integral part of in-flight entertainment.

Beginning in mid-2007, Air France, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM and United Airlines will allow passengers to connect their iPods to in-flight entertainment systems.The iPod seat connections will charge iPods in flight, and allow videos stored on iPods to be viewed on individual seat-back displays.

Of course, Apple isn’t stopping with just seven airlines –- the company is working with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to bring in-flight iPod connectivity to everything with wings. I wonder if passengers will still be required to turn off iPods for take-off? Maybe passengers will view and listen to the safety video via iPod. Or, better yet -- the Captain can offer a podcast of what he's doing at the helm.

This is the first time in history airlines have catered to a specific device. Until now, only universal electrical plugs could be found under most plane seats, and that was enough. I’ve gotten by just fine for the past few years listening to my iPod like a normal person, sitting in a normal airplane seat, and I can continue to do so quite comfortably. How many times has your in-flight entertainment experience been ruined because you couldn’t plug your iPod directly into your seat?

With over 3,000 iPod accessories on the market, it would seem as if the public could find enough Apple gadgets to entertain themselves in-flight without depending on the airlines. I guess we can blame the automobile industry for setting this precedent -- over 70 percent of all 2007 automobiles will come equipped with iPod connectivity.

Is Apple going too far? What happens when something better than an iPod hits the market? Will airlines be forced to rip iPod connection devices out of their seats and replace them with something new? Furthermore, will consumers see an increase in ticket prices just so Apple-decked pre-teens can watch the newest Gwen Stefani video on a bigger screen? I’m not paying for it. I think Apple is taking iPod entertainment to the height of ridiculousness. Give me a break.

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1 Comments

  • Earl

    Apple iPods are iconic, and airlines are riding the wave. You won't pay as much as you would have been asked to pay for in-flight headphones. People may not miss airline food, but I think they will value being able to use their iPods in more interesting ways.

    I don't know about "Apple decked pre-teens," but I see a lot of fare paying adults over a pretty wide age span listening to their iPods on the plane when I fly. It seems like a no-brainer for the airlines to put a couple of bucks into improving the experience for the traveling proletariat.

    It's not a case of Apple going too far; it's the other guys not going far enough.